Wealdstone 5 v 0 East Thurrock United
Report courtesy of The Thurrock Enquirer
THE scoreline exaggerates the difference on the day between these sides at either end of the Ryman Premier League but no-one could deny the table-topping Stones deserved the points that take them five clear at the head of the division.
Meanwhile Rocks, who have failed to score in three successive matches, face a tough-looking battle to claw their way out of the drop zone.
The visitors started this match well and could have snatched an early lead but when it failed to materialise poor defending allowed Wealdstone to grab the first goal and Rocks’ confidence and spirit nose-dived.
With influential players Stuart Thurgood and David Bryant unavailable Rocks’ small squad was down to the bare bones but the 11 starters appeared to shrug off adversity and took the game to the high-fliers. And it looked likely that they would take the lead when Neil Richmond rounded keeper keeper Jonathan North but he was unable to make good contact with his strike at goal and Thomas Hamblin got back to clear off the line.
Moments later Sam Higgins surged forward and struck an angled drive at North who could only parry it back towards the striker but he was unable to guide a second effort on target.
Rocks then won a free kick which was delivered goalwards but no-one from the visiting side mounted a challenge and Wealdstone cleared their lines with a boot upfield that defender John Easterford catastrophically misjudged and as the ball fell behind him Scott McGleish took it in his stride, rounded keeper David Hughes and netted a 26th minute opener.
Nine minutes later Simon Peddie needlessly gave away possession and set up a Wealdstone counter-attack which saw McGleish outpace defenders and slot past Hughes from a tight angle.
And in the closing minute of the half more sloppy defending allowed Stefan Bailey the chance to crash a shot home and put his side well in control of the game.
There was a fractious start to the second half when McGleish blotted his copybook with what appeared to be a stamp on Hughes after the keeper gathered the ball but it went unpunished and the striker compounded East Thurrock’s sense of frustration and disappointment when he completed his hat-trick on 56 minutes.
At that point Rocks looked a well beaten side but they almost got a goal back when Mitchell Pennock raced across the edge of the box and unleashed a powerful shot that beat North but hit the underside of the bar, bouncing down and out.
That incident summed up their day, which got worse in the last minute when Tom Pett fired an angled shot past Hughes to complete the home side’s nap hand.